First hands-on look at CHANGE folding frames

A couple of weeks ago, Flatbike got a much-anticipated international delivery with a number of firsts:

Deliveries of new products are a lot like Christmas–everything is wrapped up, and we can’t wait to open it up and see what we got.

But first, we had to carry all 35 bikes up the steps to the Flatbike shipping center and take inventory.

Then the fun started, as we checked and shipped all the bikes that folks had been ordered in the two weeks since we got a customs arrival date–the only pre-ordering we do, although there are plenty of special requests and “dibs!” that don’t involve collecting money yet.

One of these orders was from Emmanuel, who ordered a CHANGE 733 folding road frame between the two days of Bike Expo NY. We popped open the box for a first look and quality checking.

One of the first observations was that the frame already comes with a set of pop-off pedals. So you don’t have to add them to your order.

From here, for the enjoyment of tens of people everywhere, we’re going to get technical about the fine points of the CHANGE frame design, starting with the rear dropouts. Note that they are vertical. As with anything, there are tradeoffs to vertical dropouts:

  • Pro. Designed for maximum ease in removing your rear wheel and putting it back straight.
  • Con. Generally not compatible with non-derailleur systems that cannot take up chain slack, from belt-drive to fixies to internal hubs, unless you plan for an add-on chain tensioner.
Distance between chainstays (width of wheel+gears) is 5 1/8″. Length of chainstay, from axle center to bottom bracket center, is 17 1/4″.

For more on the nuances of dropouts and derailleur hangers, see Greg Kopecky’s excellent article in Slowtwitch.

The frame comes with a headset, but you’ll need your own bottom bracket. It’s a threaded, 1 5/16″ opening. Seat post is 1 1/4″.

Note that the folding frame joins together inches below the bottom bracket. The brilliant outcome of that design is that the chain ring and chain on your folded bike never dig into the dirt, get worn down, and cause you maintenance problems. Another difference with other folding bikes.

I don’t know why we included a photo of the head tube; It already comes with a headset. But in case you care, the opening is 1 5/16″. And you can see the cable braze-ons.

Folding the frame–literally a 5-second operation–brings a full-size bike down to about 35″ in length, depending upon the length of the handlebars.

Note the rubber protector on the chainstay and the front-wheel hook on the seatstay–useful for one-handed carrying.

A final note about shipping.

Let’s be honest. You can put FRAGILE signs, stickers, and warnings all over a box, and someone along the trip is still going to knock it over, stack it upside down, drop it, and who knows what else. So good packaging really, really matters.

If you’re going to stand on a box in heavy work boots right over the FRAGILE sign, pick a CHANGE bike carton, which is designed for this level of abuse. We have demo bikes that have been shipped six times in the original boxes.

Is a CHANGE folding frame right for you? Do you want dibs on a 612 folding mountain bike in an upcoming order (since we’re almost out already)? Or are you just glad that we finally replenished our stock of sizes and colors of the 702 commuting bike? Let us know!

Whatever your needs, we hope you can get out soon and enjoy the weather. It’s national bike month!

Bob Forgrave's Signature

Bob Forgrave



2 thoughts on “First hands-on look at CHANGE folding frames

  1. Dear Sirs: I use a 19 inch frame, is it possible to buy a folding frame, like the one is on this announcement? Also, what is the price?, it is not mentioned. And finally, what is the price of a fully assembled folding bike?

    I thank you before hand for the attention paid to this request.
    Dr. Arturo F Jasso

    1. Hi, Arturo. It is absolutely possible to buy a 19″ CHANGE folding MTB frame. See this link. They’re even on sale right now — $100 off. This article is 3 years old, though, and the frame is a newer model, made for 27.5″ wheels, with internal cabling, and pine green color instead of black. There are several completed models of MTB and rugged hybrid based on this frame, ranging from $1,280 to $1,880.

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